OK, so, I went through all of my book shelves and wracked my brain to make a list of all of the books I have read over the past handful of years that I DIDN’T have notes on, but I wanted to get them down in one list and keep them in one place. A quick sentence or two on each book should suffice, and then I can start fresh with a new batch. Here we go:
These Truths by Jill Lepore — A sweeping history of the U.S., full of her own twists and interpretations on what actually went down. Clocking in at over 800 pages, you get your money’s worth with this one.
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson — A collection of three stories of the “Great Migration”, when Black Americans moved by the millions from south to north in the early-to-mid 20th century. Beautifully written, stunning — and terribly, terribly sad.
Originals by Adam Grant — Grant is one of my favorites, and he offers up a host of stories, anecdotes, and profiles of a few of the non-conformists who went against the grain — and succeeded.
When by Dan Pink — The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing. Loved this one, and it’s super helpful for business leaders, executives, CEO’s, and anyone who wants to run a more efficient life.
Smarter, Better, Faster by Charles Duhigg — Along the lines of Pink, he offers up his own data and science backed evidence for being more efficient on a daily basis.
The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis — The story of Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman (author of the below book), their friendship, what they did, how they did it — and the thinking that changed the world.
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman — Ridiculously dense, it’s so amazingly brilliant it’s almost hard to contemplate how this man’s mind works, and how wrong we (humans) are about so many things.
If Our Bodies Could Talk by James Hamblin — Hamblin writes for The Atlantic and he is excellent, super smart, composed, witty, and in this one he digs deep into all of the weird things that our body does.
Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker — Really, really wish I had notes on this one, and I might go back and read it again. I’m a terrible sleeper, and I think this is one of the first books to analyze how it all goes down, and why.
Educated by Tara Westover — Her story is CRAZY. She overcame insane poverty and obstacles to earn a PhD and write one of the best novels of 2018.
Rust by Eliese Colette Goldbach —I’m a native Clevelander, which lead me to this book, written by another native Clevelander. Another in the mold of Educated, Goldbach overcomes obstacles — internal and external — to escape a life in the steel mill.
The Elephant in the Room by Tommy Tomlinson — One man’s life-long struggle and battle with his weight, the demons that haunted him, and his quest to overcome an addiction to food. Heartbreaking but inspiring.
Sapiens, Homo Deus, and 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari — One of our best current “thinkers”, Harari offers up his own theories on human history and civilization, and his descriptions of animal cruelty led me to change and overhaul my diet. He’s truly brilliant, in my mind.
The Blind Side by Michael Lewis — Classic. I love football and I think Lewis is the master of storytelling. Hard to read this without envisioning the movie, which I also loved, but the story is just so compelling.
The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis — Who knew that there were so many parts of the government that actually needed, you know, people to run them? Donald Trump certainly didn’t, or at least didn’t care enough to check. This is a problem, and it continues to be even after he lost the most recent election.
Barking Up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker — He has an awesome blog and e-letter list, and his book is basically a compilation of his blog posts. Data, stats, research, habits, change — he has it all in this one.
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg — Cue, routine, reward. This book changed the way I worked with clients, especially on the behavioral/nutrition end where we had to work really hard to change people’s mindset.
Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe — Murder, mystery, and memory in Northern Ireland during the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. A riveting tale of the IRA, Great Britain, terrorism, and family.
Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer — This book just happened to pop up on the best-sellers list this past year for some reason, even though it came out in 2013 or so. It’s an ode to nature, Native American culture, and plants. A super sweet, breezy read.
Doing Good Better by William MacAskill — Where on earth does our money go when we click on that donation link online? MacAskill lets us know, and he has a better way to create the change that we need: effective altruism.
Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser — A classic, I think. Changes the way you think about where your food comes from, and certainly makes you think twice about stopping by that drive-thru and grabbing a Big Mac.
Moneyball by Michael Lewis — All-time favorite. The movie is great as well, but this started the analytics revolution in sports.
Friday Night Lights by Buzz Bisinger — Perhaps the oldest book on my shelf, and perhaps my second all-time favorite book. I love high school football, but not nearly as much as they do in Texas. In Texas, high school football is LIFE.
Little Victories by Jason Gay — He writes for the Wall Street Journal, he’s funny, witty, smart, sharp, and observant on all the little thing in life that we might overlook.
Mindset by Carol Dweck — Another classic. A growth mindset leads to a desire to learn and therefore a tendency to
· Embrace challenges
· Persist in the face of setbacks
· See effort as the path to mastery
· Learn from criticism
· Find lessons and inspiration in the success of others
Final Rounds by James Dodson — My Dad gave me this one. He loves golf, and it’s a tale of a father and a son who both do as well.
In the Shadow of Statues by Mitch Landrieu — Former Mayor of New Orleans stood his ground, knew the difference between right and wrong, studied the history, and came to the conclusion that confederate statues had to go. Good for him. I listened to this one on audio but then found a free copy and kept it because I liked it so much.
Factfulness by Hans Rosling — All the data, stats, and science to let you know that we are doing ok! Humans are the healthiest we have ever been, the population will stabilize, and there are ways we can overcome climate change.
No Sweat by Michelle Segar — Motivation and fitness, fitness and motivation. They are one in the same, and Segar shows you how to get yourself going. Backed by a shit-ton of science once again, which I love.
The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown — INCREDIBLE story. I had never heard of the guys from Seattle who rowed their way to history in the 1936 Olympics. How has this not been made into a movie yet?
Shooting Stars by Buzz Bisinger — All about Lebron and the boys from Akron. It’s not the greatest book, but I love Lebron, I love Cleveland, and I love his story so I didn’t care.
Above the Line by Urban Meyer — Meyer’s tome on leadership, and the 2014 Ohio State national championship season. Here are a few notes:
- Respond, don’t react.
- “Is this useful?”
- Being aware of your feelings/emotions but not being overcome by them or letting them get the best of you.
- Above the line: intentional, on purpose, skillful. Below the line: impulsive, autopilot, resistant.salt sugar fat
The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee — Amazing history of science, basically, but focused on gene’s, DNA, genetics, research and experimentation. Frightening to think about where all of this can go in the future.
Original Gangstas by Ben Westhoff — I grabbed this book after watching the 2Pac movie and being underwhelmed because I wanted/needed more information on the history of west coast hip hop. Westhoff delivers.
How to be a Man by Glenn O’Brien — He was a former GQ writer who’s humor, style, elegance, and charm I always appreciated. This book is the ultimate coffee table page turner on how to do everything well, from a manly perspective.
Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance — This was one of the first books that came out to “explain” the Trump era. Not sure that was the point, but it kicked off a whole bunch of books and articles on “middle america” as well. I really enjoyed his writing, and his story.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas — And it’s not non-fiction! Loved it, loved the movie, loved the story, and my heart was broken more than once reading it. It’s powerful.
Lose Weight Here by Jade Teta — Teta is a guru in the field of naturopathic medicine and exercise, and he’s hella successful in this field. This book is pretty neat if you want a fresh perspective on exercise and weight loss.
Nomadland by Jessica Bruder — Saw the movie first, then got the book. It’s fascinating and inspiring and wonderful, and so, so sad. But don’t feel sad for the main characters — they are perfectly happy surviving and thriving on their own.
What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell — A collection of stories. Huge Gladwell fan, read it years ago so I don’t recall a lot of it. But he’s an excellent storyteller.
In the Age of Noise by Erling Kagge — Loved, loved, loved this short book. It’s an ode to the wilderness, to quiet, to silence, to nature, to wind, to water, to being outside, to the outdoors, etc. Perfect to sit and chill and read in about an hour.
Go Ahead in the Rain by Hanif Abdurraquib — His tome to A Tribe Called Quest, a band that I love almost as much as he does. Another short one to curl up and read in about an hour. But well worth it.
Quiet/Quiet Power by Susan Cain — Books for introverts, who should be ruling the world! I’m one, so I appreciated this book for a whole host of reasons. Quiet Power is for kids, or at least those who are quiet as well.
The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman — One of the first books I read about humanity, business, and how we are all interconnected. Friedman is a heck of a writer, prolific in every way.
Fever Pitch by Nick Horby — This man loves soccer as much as any of us love anything. I don’t love soccer but I love sports, and I love reading books written by people who love sports. This one wins.
The Comeback by Terry Pluto — My favorite Cleveland-based writer, Pluto goes behind the scenes on the Cavs 2016 title run. Lebron forever.
The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama — I read this way before he became famous, and you could just tell he was of a different mold. One of the best writers in the world just so happens to be the ex-President of the United States. For real.
Becoming by Michelle Obama — Amazing, beautiful, and wonderful story from a brilliant woman who may still be underappreciated. Can you both please come back and be President and First Lady again?
Outliers/The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell — Some of this theories don’t hold up in the present day, but when he first proposed them they were revelatory, and with good reason. He’s still one of the best thinkers out there.
Give and Take by Adam Grant — Are you a giver or a taker? I’m a giver, I think, (I hope), and that’s a good thing, according to Grant.
Eat, Move, Sleep by Tom Rath — Top 5 all-time favorite. The most practical and simple tips and advice for living a healthier life. It still holds up years later.
We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nahisi Coates — A collection of his essay’s from the Obama years. I can’t believe they ended the way they did, and Coates couldn’t believe it either.
Grit by Angela Duckworth — The power of passion and perseverance. No doubt about it, we need a little of both, and grit might be missing from our society today.
Salt, Sugar, Fat by Michael Moss — Did you know that an Oreo cookie has a “bliss point”, i.e, it’s been tested and retested by researchers and consumers so that it has the perfect amount of salt, sugar, and fat, making it so you can’t possibly each just one and crave more and more and more? That’s how the big food giants get us hooked on crap.
Untamed by Glennon Doyle — I think it’s fair to say that this book isn’t necessarily for ME, but it’s not not for me, if that at all makes sense. Doyle is a powerful writer with a powerful story, and she lets readers into her world to a degree that not many writers would have the guts to do. And I heart Abby Wambach (her wife), so that was a pretty cool twist.
To Sell is Human by Dan Pink — I got notes on this one!
- Strategic Mimicry — Watch/Wait/Wane
- Pull up a chair — Amazon/Bezos, empty chair for a customer at a meeting
- Inner Ambivert
- Conversation with a time traveler — Tell someone about takout pizza from 300 years ago
- Meeting discussion map — Who talks the most, and to whom?
- Mood Map — How does the mood change over time at a meeting?
- Mirror, Mirror — Face someone for 30 seconds, observe. Turn around and change something about your appearance and then do it again.
- Find uncommon commonalities.
- Interrogative self-talk: Bob the Builder — Can I do this? Can I move these people?
- Positivity ratio: 3:1, positive to negative. Frederickson’s ten positive emotions — joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe, love. Select one or two throughout the day and look for ways to display those emotions.
- When something bad happens, ask yourself three questions and figure out a way to say no: Is this permanent? Is this pervasive? Is this personal? Bad events are temporary, specific, external.
- Enumerate the “no’s” — You are still around!
- Embrace the rejections — Framed letters from job rejections on wall, perhaps.
- Allow appropriate negativity — moments that serve a purpose
- Defensive pessimism — Mentally prepare for the worst to manage anxieties.
- Send yourself a rejection letter.
- “On a scale of 1 to 10 … “ “Why didn’t you pick a lower number?” Asks them to articulate and/or change the behavior.
- A jolt of the unfamiliar: take a different driving route home, spend a half day in another profession, travel to another country.
- Become a curator — Seek information on sources. Sense — Create meaning out of the material. Share info with others.
- Ask better questions — 1) Produce your questions 2) Improve your questions to make them open ended 3) Prioritize the questions
- Why? — When you want to figure out what kind of problem someone has, ask a Why question. Then ask another for a total of 5 why questions.
- Focus on the 1% — don’t get lost in the clutter of what you are exploring, selling, learning.
- One Word Pitch/Question Pitch/Rhyming Pitch/Subject Line Pitch (utility or curiosity)/Twitter Pitch (120 characters or less)/Pixar Pitch
- What do you want them to know? What do you want them to feel? What do you want them to do?
- Keep a notepad of good pitches and practice and record them
- Add a visual
- Pecha-Kucha: 20 X 20 power point slides. 6:40 presentations. Pecha-Kucha.org.
- Go first if you’re the incumbent, last if you are the challenger.
- Up to 120 minutes is better than up to 2 hours.
- What is my company about? What is my product or service about? What am I about? Ask friends/co-workers/family for feedback.
- Rethink sales commissions. More people working together, collaboration.
- Emotionally intelligent signage. “Children play here. Pick up after your dog.” Empathy, purpose, community.
- Treat everybody as you would your grandmother.
- If the person you’re selling agrees to buy, will his or her life improve? When your interaction is over, will the world be a better place?